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d'Arnaud vs. Hamilton showdown brewing

9/23/2013

CINCINNATI -- Travis d'Arnaud slightly nodded his head in agreement at the suggestion that he was facing a situation similar to a movie gunslinger in a potential showdown with Cincinnati base-stealing prodigy Billy Hamilton.

"That's a perfect analogy," the Mets catcher said.

Hamilton, who set a professional baseball record with a combined 155 stolen bases at two minor league stops in 2012, has been shattering records while going 12-for-12 since the Reds added him to their roster on September 2. The outfielder wasn't in Cincinnati's starting lineup for Monday's series-opener against the Mets, but d'Arnaud and manager Terry Collins figured they'd see him at some point.

"It's fun for me," said d'Arnaud, who'd thrown out four of the 22 runners trying to steal with him behind the plate this season.

d'Arnaud has faced accomplished base-stealers in his career -- and his life, he said, mentioning his older brother, Pirates outfielder Chase, who is 153-for-185 in his minor league career and 13-for-15 in 56 major league games.

"I'm 1-for-3 against him, and he never lets me hear the end of it," Travis said.

Like most managers, Collins believes stopping a prolific base-stealer depends as much or more on the pitcher than the catcher.

"We know he can run," Collins said before Monday's game. "It depends on who's on the mound. Whoever it is, we'll do our best to keep him close. We might change some things up to get his attention. So far, he's been pretty hard to stop. Travis is 1.8 to second base, so you'd better be fast to outrun him, but if [Hamilton] gets the right pitch in the right situation, he's hard to stop."